What to Do in an Asthma Attack

17 May 2012
Asthma Attack card

Occasionally an asthma attack may occur no matter how careful you are about taking your asthma treatment and avoiding triggers.

An asthma attack normally doesn't occur suddenly; most people find that asthma attacks are the result of a gradual worsening of symptoms over a few days. If your symptoms are getting worse, do not ignore them.

Quite often using your reliever may be all that is needed to get your asthma under control again. At other times symptoms are more severe and more urgent action is required.

Be sure you know the Five Step Rule:

This is an emergency - act now.

1. Stay calm. Sit up straight - do not lie down.

2. Take slow steady breaths.

3. Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every minute.

Use a spacer if available.

                People over 6 years can take up to 10 puffs in 10 minutes.

                Children under 6 can take up to 6 puffs in 10 minutes.

4. Call 112 or 999 if your symptoms do not improve after 10 minutes.

5 Repeat step 3 if an ambulance has not arrived in 10 minutes.

If you are admitted to hospital or an accident and emergency department because of your asthma, take details of your treatment with you.

Bring your asthma management plan if you have one to the hospital.

You should also make an appointment with your doctor or nurse after you are discharged from hospital, so that you can review your asthma treatment to avoid the situation rising again.